I Am a Caregiver

Jo

I Am a Caregiver

Jo
My mother is soon to be 89 years old. For 21 years, she has lived on her own as a widow. Her house (the one I grew up in) is about an hour round trip from me.

I am the oldest of three daughters and from the time I was very young, I was placed in a role of responsibility for my two younger sisters. Always a leader, role model, and "example setter", I took on my motherly caretaker role with zest and enthusiasm.

Two adult children and two grandchildren later and my husband of 37 years and I should be taking pre-retirement trips, socking away money for our golden years, and enjoying the fruits of our labor. That is not the case. My mother became very ill five years ago. She recovered but it took a long time. I quit my full time job to oversee and care for her. I am often grateful for this time with my mom but other times I could scream.

The first two years after I left my job I used my savings to supplement our household income. Finally, when I couldn't hold even a part time job due to my mother's needs, I asked mom for help. She has a small inheritance and agreed to assist me financially. This has helped but I am way behind in what I made previously vs. now.

I started a part time home-based business which has helped my self esteem and my finances somewhat. A year or so ago I made the difficult decision to talk to my doctor about depression. I've been on medication since then and that has helped.

I know I should exercise, eat less sugar, and lose some weight but I honestly cannot even bring myself to start. So instead I meditate, spend quality time with my two-year-old granddaughter (the light of my life), and try to give my husband the attention he deserves. My faith has helped me a great deal. I believe that I am doing the right thing by caring for my mother. Both my sisters now live eight hours away and though they come a couple times a year, I am still responsible for my mom 24/7.

I'm going to learn to navigate this site. I was so thrilled that I found a community! Isolation is not good and meeting others who are in the trenches of caretaking gives me a sign of relief.